Some causes of arachnoiditis are injury to the spine, bacterial or viral infection, chemicals, chronic spinal nerve compression and complications from spinal surgery, according to WebMD. Arachnoiditis happens when the arachnoid, a membrane surrounding the spinal cord, becomes inflamed.
A chemical dye used for myelograms may be the culprit in some cases of arachnoiditis, states WebMD. Myelograms no longer utilize this dye, however. Preservatives in epidural steroid injections may also be a chemical cause of arachnoiditis. Viral and fungal meningitis and tuberculosis are infections that may affect the spine and result in arachnoiditis. Chronic degenerative disc disease or advanced spinal stenosis may cause chronic compression of the spine and lead to arachnoiditis. Having multiple lumbar punctures may also put someone at risk for arachnoiditis.
The most common symptom of arachnoiditis is pain, explains WebMD. Other symptoms include numbness, weakness or tingling of the legs and muscle cramps, spasms or twitching. A sensation that feels like an insect crawling on the skin may also be present. Pain that is present can have a shooting quality or electric shock sensation. Arachnoiditis may also be responsible for bowel, bladder and sexual problems. Treatment for arachnoiditis usually consists of a pain management program and physiotherapy. The goals of treatment are pain relief and symptom improvement. No cure for this condition exists.